Mining giant, Rio Tinto plc (RIO), reported strong production results for the fourth quarter of 2013. The company reported rise in production of iron ore, mined copper, bauxite, hard coking coal, while the production of aluminium, semi-soft and thermal coal and titanium dioxide feedstock declined year over year.
The cyclone Christine at the end of Dec 2013 did not significantly affect the production and the company reported record production and shipments of iron ore for 2013. In the year, Rio Tinto plc (NYSE:RIO) produced roughly 266 million tonnes of iron ore, up 5% year over year.
The expansion of Pilbara operations to 360 million tonnes per annum is on track and is expected to consummate by the first half of 2015.
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Bauxite production reached a record level of 43.2 million tonnes in 2013, 10% higher than in 2012. The increase was mainly in response to higher third-party demand.
The company has also been hiving-off its unproductive assets to focus more on its core assets. In Oct 2013, Rio Tinto plc (NYSE:RIO) completed the sale of stake in Clermont mine in central Queensland for $1.015 billion.
Rio Tinto is expected to release the full-year 2013 results on Feb 13. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the same stands at $4.99. With such strong production results, we expect the company to report impressive results.
Another mining peer, BHP Billiton Limited (BHP), is scheduled to release the fourth-quarter 2013 operations review on Jan 22, 2014.
With a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), Rio Tinto currently has a market capitalization of $97.9 billion. Some better-ranked stocks in the industry include General Moly, Inc. (GMO) and Denison Mines Corp. (DNN). While General Moly sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Denison Mines holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).